Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
3.   Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.   Slate Drakes
5.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
6.   Little Yellow Quills
7.   Needle Stoneflies
8.   Beetles
9.   Grasshoppers
10. Ants
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 74
Some anglers just don't understand the catching part of fishing. They think that
some days you are going to catch a lot of fish and others you aren't irregardless of
how you fish. They think that's a normal thing, or just part of fishing. Everyone has
their good days and bad days, whether they are fishing or doing something else.
There are days when you feel good and you just do things better. There are days
that things just seem to go our way. To relate this to fishing, you should look at it
like this. I'm sure surgeons have their good and bad days. A heart surgeon
probably does a better job at surgery on some days than others. I doubt if any of
them rely on luck though. I know I sure wouldn't want to be on the table with one
that did. Some days fishermen just seem to do a better job of catching fish than
others, however, they shouldn't depend or rely on luck any more than a heart
surgeon should depend or rely on it.  

The guys that enter the pro bass circuit are almost all confident they can win, or at
least do well, or they wouldn't enter them. Most all of them were previously
successful at local tournaments. They think they are very good at catching bass or
they wouldn't blow a week, spend lots of money, or embarrass their sponsors.  For
the most part, they are all very good bass fisherman.

As I said a day or so ago, when the fishing is quote "good", almost everyone
catches fish in the tournaments. Under those conditions, with a 7 fish limit, it isn't an
easy to catch 7 fish that are larger than someone else's 7 fish. Things tend to even
out more, ounces makes a big difference and it is difficult to separate the
exceptionally good anglers from those that are just above average or good.  Yes,
there are ways to go about catching the larger fish, and everyone certainly tries to
do just that. But luck comes into the picture and can also play a big part in who
catches the larger bass.

On the other hand, when fishing is quote "not so great, average or poor" - which is
usually the case, the difference in an exceptional good angler and an average one
shows up fast. That is when the same guys come to the top and you can pick the
top fifty guys as well as you can pick the top fifty golfers in a pro golf tournament.

If you pick your fishing days and times, you can usually be successful just by
eliminating the tough fishing days and fishing only when fishing is quote "good".
That is one big reason hot shot local anglers don't usually do well In pro
tournaments. Your don't have a choice. You fish a predetermined time and pre-set
hours. When fishing isn't great, the anglers that really know what they are doing
always show up at the top of the list. By the way, this isn't just the case with the two
bass pro circuits, it works the same way with the SKA kingfish circuit, two pro redfish
circuits, and to some extent, in the big game tournaments depending on the rules.

When I was doing my weekly TV series, I couldn't go on the air and say "fishing was
not very good this week". "I am sorry but I don't have anything to show you." I had to
select guest that knew what they were doing. I had to learn to separate the ones
that could catch fish consistently from those that could only catch fish on the good
fishing day. The four years of competing in the bass pro circuit, helped me with that.
When I started planning a trip or talking with anyone, and they started hesitating, or
coming up with a lot of "ifs" or potential excuses for not catching fish, I dropped
them instantly. That was my first clue. If they didn't say,
we will catch fish, I wasn't
interested in fishing with them. I was doing the TV shows for my living. Catching fish
was the difference in staying on the air or not. Air time cost from $500 to $1200 a
week per station. Production cost averaged about $1500 per week. One year I had
26 stations. I made the difference in what my sponsors paid me, and what I paid the
stations. Do the math and see if you had rather be working with a great angler or
what many would call a good one. That is about a $20,000 per week expense, plus
the cost of production. That's about $1,118,000.00 per year. That is a drop in a
bucket to my previous yearly construction contracts, but a huge obligation for
fishing. I caught fish every week for five years irregardless of the conditions, or I
paid for not doing it dearly. If not, I wouldn't be dining in a fancy restaurant, I would
be eating what I did catch.
By the way, that was in the 1980s. Does that give you any idea why
there aren't any good fly fishing for trout shows on the air now?

If something isn't right, and conditions for a certain type of fishing is wrong, the true
professions will tell you up front. If conditions are suitable, a professional will they
you they are going to catch fish. I had many anglers and boat captains back out
because I was outright upfront and point blank with them. I didn't pressure them or
even mention the business end of it. I just tried to determine if they were the type of
anglers, or boat captain and crew that believed some days are good and some
days are not, or that luck plays a big part in fishing. If I got the least impression that
they looked at fishing like a normal amateur does, I politely didn't use them. Anyone
can have terrible luck and bad days when things go wrong and the fish are not
caught. Any number of things can happen on a fishing trip, but most all of them can
be anticipated. For example, you can determine if the weather is going to be good,
or if there is a chance for it to be terrible, but you can't necessarily predict when a
motor will blow up. It was a rare occasion when my guest and I didn't catch enough
fish for a good TV program. It happened every once in a while but I always
scrambled and made up for it the next day or two.

If you ever want to improve your fishing, you have to first realize that luck isn't going
to have anything to do with becoming a better angler. Fishermen cannot control
their luck any more than a surgeon can. You have to be fully aware that if you don't
catch fish, it wasn't the results of a natural occurrence, or as the common saying
goes "the fish were not bitting". It was the result of how you went about it. You must
first realize fish could have been caught and you simply didn't or couldn't do it. It is
really no different than anything else. You can't fix a problem until you first realize
you have a problem.

When Angie and I first started fly fishing the Smokies for trout, we had to learn all
the important basics just like everyone else. The big difference in me and the
average guy was that I did it practically full time. If I was not out on the water fishing,
I was reading books about it, or viewing videos about fly fishing for trout. When I
started trout fishing, I still earned my living from fishing and fishing related things. I
purchased over a hundred books my first year. I also produced two instructional
DVDs featuring Ian and Charity Rutter during my second year. We learned a lot
from them doing that as well as a lot of additional help they gave us. The third year
we fished for trout, we spent over 200 days on the water on various streams across
the country. At the end of our third year, we had fished more days than some
anglers that like to say they've been fishing for ten or twenty years.
I had become
what I call a mediocre angler.
Some others would probably have called me a
pretty good fly fishing trout bum. I caught plenty of trout when fishing was quote
"good", but I didn't when fishing was poor or lousy. Quite frankly, that bothered me
much more than people could possibly imagine. I knew I was just getting started on
the way to where I wanted to go.

We basically used the Parachute Adams and the Gold Ribbed Hare's Nymphs. I still
think both of these flies are probably the best of all of the generic trout flies, but it
didn't take me long to realize that I was missing a lot. I didn't know what, when and
how all the different species of trout ate. I knew I was basically using trial and error.
Angie did a better job that I. She always caught the flies and sat down with our
boxes of several hundred and carefully picked out flies to use at various streams
across the nation. When she started catching trout on one, I talked her out of her
rod or made her tie one on for me.

I realized I was missing most of what I needed to know. I realized that it was more
complicated that most of the other species of fish I had dealt with. I realized the
diversity of food the trout ate, which was the very thing I needed to know how to
imitate,  was not something I was going to learn in a week or two. I had been
studying the aquatic insects. I even called a distant cousin for help. He has a phD in
entomology and taught it in college. He didn't know a single thing about aquatic
insects other than a few basics. I already knew more in respect to my needs than he
did. He just advised me to take a week or two and learn what I needed to know. I
didn't say it, but I though "gee thanks".

Oh yes, I will be getting into the false claims, better described as baloney, that
there's little for the fish to eat in the streams of the Smokies.


Copyright 2009 James Marsh